Opeth

By Request, Part 1 - Orchid:


  • Total voters
    5
  • Poll closed .

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
While I’m not thrilled that Mikael is limiting the song choices to just a few per album, almost every album includes a song option or two that is not normally played. Obviously, I voted for all of these deep cuts, including Apostle, BRI, Karma, Blackwater Park, Master’s, Whispered, and Mire.

BRI has always been my favorite song from their earliest era. I’m hoping that most of the deep cuts are played, as Opeth seems to be a band with few casual fans who would vote for the “hits.”

I think it’s a cop out to put the three most commonly played songs as options for Still Life. They know those songs well and won’t have to re-learn them, and it is considered their most complicated album. Still, the choices should have included Moonlapse and Serenity.

Opeth pretty much became a different band for me starting with Heritage, with Watershed being very transitional. Their newer stuff is solid but it lacks the magic of the growly, dynamic era. Pale Communion is the best of the newer albums, although I’d rather listen to any of the growly records over it. Since Ghost Reveries I feel like there have been very few exceptional moments.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
I don’t think time has anything to do with it, you could play the longest song from each album and have a decent length evening-with set (which I assume this will be anyway). Plus many of the songs that were excluded aren’t really that long. I think it really just comes down to there being songs that they don’t want to play/learn.
Err, that's also a time-related consideration. Long rehearsal period.
 

JudasMyGuide

Ever the Southern Gentleman
They have over a year and they’re professional musicians. They’re capable of playing anything in their catalog with a few weeks rehearsal I’m sure.
This. Really, I don't think it's laziness or ineptitude.

First of all, remember we're talking about Opeth - you can say a lot about them (and about Mikael's growling abilities), but technically it's still a stellar band. So maybe they're not on the absurd wankery level of DT, but I doubt they couldn't play anything in their catalogue easily, with reasonable rehearsal period.

Second of all, they are obviously willing to (re-)learn and rehearse a 20 minute song with not always logical progressions, along with a lot of the other metal stuff they ever did. I mean, however overplayed The Moor of Demon of the Fall are, it's not like the songs are easy so that'd be the easy way out. IMHO.

While I’m not thrilled that Mikael is limiting the song choices to just a few per album, almost every album includes a song option or two that is not normally played. Obviously, I voted for all of these deep cuts, including Apostle, BRI, Karma, Blackwater Park, Master’s, Whispered, and Mire.
At first I wanted to vote for all the deep cuts as well, but then I realised I also want it to be fun - I love White Cluster (The Pink Panther Theme and Dream Theater for the win!), but there's just something awesome about The Moor - in particular it's the "spidery" riff under the verse - that made me vote for it instead. I toyed with the idea of voting for Funeral Portrait, but then I realised that if I was there, I'd much rather see them play Blackwater Park and so on. But I understand where you're coming from.

I’m hoping that most of the deep cuts are played, as Opeth seems to be a band with few casual fans who would vote for the “hits.”
Yeah, someone once said that "it's hard to be a 'casual' fan of Opeth" - I don't know what the "hits" crowd would actually look like. It's not like they have this rock radio #1 song that they're obliged to play, right?

I mean, even with the overplayed songs - they're still great. Each and every one of them. Except maybe Cusp of Eternity, but I'll get to that in the possible future Survivor.

Opeth pretty much became a different band for me starting with Heritage, with Watershed being very transitional. Their newer stuff is solid but it lacks the magic of the growly, dynamic era. Pale Communion is the best of the newer albums, although I’d rather listen to any of the growly records over it. Since Ghost Reveries I feel like there have been very few exceptional moments.
I get what you mean - yes, the feels are different now. But honestly, they were different even then. What I mean is that - although some of you might disagree - they were always evolving, for better or worse and no two albums of theirs are really alike. And there are people on this forum (and I know, I collected and copied the posts) that were saying that already on Deliverance they were tired of the death metal paradigm (I don't agree at all, but still - it is a valid opinion). Already on Harlequin Forest they were trying to recreate (and in a superb way, may I add) the outro to Deliverance, with slightly different feels and attitude, but still counting on it being the answer to the previous song. I wonder how many "true" "golden-era" albums they could put out even if they decided to do so. So although I'm usually sad that any given band leaves its place where I found and loved them, I don't have it like that with them. I mean, the great metal albums are still great, they won't retract anything off them. And even in the NewPeth era I actually find the albums diverse and unique in their own way. Leaving the game, or actually changing the rules while they were still ahead is a cool thing to do, methinks. I love Watershed and Heritage very dearly (travesty - I actually put both on more often than Damnation or any of the first 3 albums) and although the emotions and sentiments and excitement are all different, it doesn't mean it's worse.
I liked ICV a lot and its "Jazzy Sabbath" approach excites me. In a different way than the build-up in BWP, or the outro to Deliverance or the sick riff in Melinda, but it excites me nonetheless.

To me there's no real magic lost. They might've lost some of the energy or even originality, but they're still immediately identifiable and I enjoy all 13 albums to the highest degree. That's one of the reasons why they crawled up to my #1 spot over the past 5 years.
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
If I were to learn an Opeth song to play live a year from now, Black Rose Immortal would undoubtedly be the hardest, and even then it wouldn't be a problem. The biggest challenge would just be remembering where all the parts go and being familiar enough with the song.
 

JudasMyGuide

Ever the Southern Gentleman
Oh, also - I doubt there will be any XXX Anniversary Czech dates (too small a country for that), so I bought the regular ticket. 15th March 2021. First time seeing them, finally.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
At first I wanted to vote for all the deep cuts as well, but then I realised I also want it to be fun - I love White Cluster (The Pink Panther Theme and Dream Theater for the win!), but there's just something awesome about The Moor - in particular it's the "spidery" riff under the verse - that made me vote for it instead. I toyed with the idea of voting for Funeral Portrait, but then I realised that if I was there, I'd much rather see them play Blackwater Park and so on. But I understand where you're coming from.
I actually think The Moor is a stronger song than White Cluster, but I voted for the latter because I've heard them play the former numerous times live. Many fans are quick to jump on The Moor being Still Life's best track, but I greatly prefer Moonlapse Vertigo, Serenity Painted Death, and Godhead's Lament. Sadly, I believe Mikael has said that in the case of Moonlapse, he didn't think it sounded good when played live.

I mean, even with the overplayed songs - they're still great. Each and every one of them. Except maybe Cusp of Eternity, but I'll get to that in the possible future Survivor.
Cusp is far from a bad track. It's straightforward and relatively short, so it makes for a solid live song. It also has a non-lyrical chorus that the crowd can sing along to. Great solo, too. For me, the issue is that Pale Communion has better tracks that have never been played live (Faith in Others stands out). I caught them on their last tour, and Moon Above Sun Below was outstanding. Now there's a track that captures the random, twisting essence of their first few albums - but without growls!

I get what you mean - yes, the feels are different now. But honestly, they were different even then. What I mean is that - although some of you might disagree - they were always evolving, for better or worse and no two albums of theirs are really alike. And there are people on this forum (and I know, I collected and copied the posts) that were saying that already on Deliverance they were tired of the death metal paradigm (I don't agree at all, but still - it is a valid opinion). Already on Harlequin Forest they were trying to recreate (and in a superb way, may I add) the outro to Deliverance, with slightly different feels and attitude, but still counting on it being the answer to the previous song. I wonder how many "true" "golden-era" albums they could put out even if they decided to do so. So although I'm usually sad that any given band leaves its place where I found and loved them, I don't have it like that with them. I mean, the great metal albums are still great, they won't retract anything off them. And even in the NewPeth era I actually find the albums diverse and unique in their own way. Leaving the game, or actually changing the rules while they were still ahead is a cool thing to do, methinks. I love Watershed and Heritage very dearly (travesty - I actually put both on more often than Damnation or any of the first 3 albums) and although the emotions and sentiments and excitement are all different, it doesn't mean it's worse. I liked ICV a lot and its "Jazzy Sabbath" approach excites me. In a different way than the build-up in BWP, or the outro to Deliverance or the sick riff in Melinda, but it excites me nonetheless.
I know I am in the minority, but I greatly prefer Harlequin Forest to Deliverance. The latter track really only gets good halfway through, while there's nothing to dislike about the entirety of former. Seeing them play it in February was such a treat. When I'm walking though a burning forest in October at sunset with the screams of dying animals echoing in the distance, Harlequin Forest is my go-to song.

Watershed is a solid effort, but it was clear by this point in their career that the band did not have their hearts in writing longer songs. Aside from the nearly perfect Heir Apparent, the other growly songs seem jumbled and thrown together - sections appear and disappear almost at random. Most of the non-growly songs are nothing the band hasn't done before. Heritage was a new direction due to the lack of growlies - but it still contained random, disjointed songwriting. However, unlike Damnation, the album is not very consistent. It's a mood piece for an autumn evening near a campfire with a good scotch, but I struggle to let it grab me in other situations.

Damnation, on the other hand, is a nearly perfect record to these ears. The only song with even a modicum of weakness is appropriately titled, but once you've listened to the seven immaculate tracks that precede it, it works well as a haunting closer. The entire album has an eerie yet calming and peaceful vibe. There are exceptions - Death Whispered A Lullaby and Closure get a little more rambunctious at times - but overall this is simply a ghostly album. This is one of my favorite metal-but-not-metal albums of all time, and I pull it out every winter as I sip coffee and watch the snow fall.

To me there's no real magic lost. They might've lost some of the energy or even originality, but they're still immediately identifiable and I enjoy all 13 albums to the highest degree. That's one of the reasons why they crawled up to my #1 spot over the past 5 years.
The energy is a huge part of it. What set this band apart from others in the Still Life through Watershed era was their tendency to use dynamics to their fullest. Peaceful, acoustic-laden sections with folksy vocals abruptly end with jarring, dissonant guitars and Tyrannosaur growling. Those moments are outstanding, and the biggest reason Opeth drew me in back in the early 2000s. Sure, the songs are still somewhat unpredictable from 2011 onward, but the lack of growlies really drags them down for me. But as I stated above, I adore Damnation - so it's not just the lack of harsh vocals. I think the production is a large part of it; their middle era had a crisp cleanness and razor sharp distortion, whereas Mikael's obsession with obscure "vintage" '70s prog bands has led to a muddy mid-section-laden mess. The guitars have no bite anymore, and that stings.
 
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